synthetic zero


March 29, 2008

The Religious Experience of Philip K. Dick. And ... The Empire Never Ended. Sounds like the ravings of a lunatic ... yet the odd thing is how true it all feels. It has the ring of a complete fabrication that is a picture of the truth:

7. The Head Apollo is about to return. St Sophia is going to be born again; she was not acceptable before. The Buddha is in the park. Siddhartha sleeps (but is going to awaken). The time you have waited for has come.


11. The great secret known to Apollonius of Tyana, Paul of Tarsus, Simon Magus, Asklepios, Paracelsus, Boehme and Bruno is that: we are moving backward in time. The universe in fact is contracting into a unitary entity which is completing itself. Decay and disorder are seen by us in reverse, as increasing. These healers learned to move forward in time, which is retrograde to us.


14. The universe is information and we are stationary in it, not three-dimensional and not in space or time. The information fed to us we hypostatize into the phenomenal world.


22. I term the Immortal One a plasmate, because it is a form of energy; it is living information. It replicates itself --- not through information or in information --- but as information.


29. We did not fall because of a moral error; we fell because of an intellectual error: that of taking the phenomenal world as real. Therefore we are morally innocent. It is the Empire in its various disguised polyforms which tells us we have sinned. "The Empire never ended."

30. The phenomenal world does not exist; it is a hypostasis of the information processed by the Mind.

31. We hypostatize information into objects. Rearrangement of objects is change in the content of the information; the message has changed. This is a language which we have lost the ability to read. We ourselves are a part of this language; changes in us are changes in the content of the information. We ourselves are information-rich; information enters us, is processed and is then projected outward once more, now in an altered form. We are not aware that we are doing this, that in fact this is all we are doing.


42. To fight the Empire is to be infected by its derangement. This is a paradox: whoever defeats a segment of the Empire becomes the Empire; it proliferates like a virus, imposing its form on its enemies. Thereby it becomes its enemies.


53. ...From Ikhnaton this knowledge passed to Moses, and from Moses to Elijah, the Immortal Man, who became Christ. But underneath all the names there is only one Immortal Man; and we are that man.

Debby writes to me to complain about my lack of posting. I thank you for that. I have had a LOT of thoughts recently but life seems to be so rich and full and intense that it's difficult to get it down, ironically. I was very impressed with Obama's speech. I was also moved by Be Kind, Rewind, which reminds me a bit of Moholy-Nagy's comment which Miranda July once asked me to post on her website long ago:

People are taught that the best way of living is to buy another person's energy, to use other people's skill. In other words, a dangerous metropolitan dogma developed that the different subject matters are best handled by experts... through the division of labor and the mechanized methods not only the production of daily necessities and goods has passed into the hands of specialists, but almost every outlet for the emotional life as well. Today the artist-specialists have to provide for emotions. They are paid--if they are--for that. The sad consequence is that the biological interest in everything within the human spheres of existence becomes suffocated by the tinself of a seemingly easygoing life. People who have biologically the potential to comprehend the world with the entirety of his abilities, to conceive and express himself through different media, the word, tone, color, etc., agree voluntarily to the amputation of these most valuable potentialities. Nothing proves better the lost feeling for the fundamentals of human life than that it has to be emphasized today: Feeling and thinking and their expression in any media belong to the normal living standard of all people. (italics added)
Check out some sweded movies on YouTube.

Much else has happened; but too much to write here, for now. Promise to write more soon.

March 11, 2008

Quotes from James P. Carse's Finite and Infinite Games:

There are at least two kinds of games. One could be called finite, the other infinite.

A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, an infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play.

A finite game has a precise beginning and end, and has clear spatial and numerical boundaries. There must be at least one opponent.

Finite games can be played within an infinite game, but no infinite games can be played within a finite game.

Infinite play is not theatrical but dramatic; its outcome is endlessly open. Rather than assessing the power or weakness of earlier play, infinite players look forward towards ongoing play in which the past will require constant reinterpretation.

Infinite players do not oppose the actions of other but initiate actions of their own in such a way that others will respond by initiating their own.

Where the finite player plays to be powerful, the infinite player player plays with strength. A powerful person is one who brings the past to an outcome, settling all its unresolved issues. A strong person is one who carries the past into the future, showing that none of its issues is capable of resolution. Power is concerned with what has already happened, strength with what has yet to happen.

Strength is paradoxical. I am not strong because I can force others to do what I wish as a result of my play with them, but because I can allow them to do what they wish in the course of my play with them.

Because culture as such can have no temporal limits, a culture understands its past not as destiny but as history, that is, as a narrative that has begun but points always toward the endlessly open. Culture is an enterprise of mortals, disdaining to protect themselves against surprise. Living in the strength of their vision they eschew power and make joyous play of boundaries.


March 4, 2008

Most martial arts are classified as either "hard" or "soft" --- people also tend to divide themselves into "hard" and "soft" camps ... conservative or liberal, etc. But the optimal strategy, it seems to me, is a combination of both --- depending on the situation, the context. Perhaps this sounds obvious, common sense; but "purists" on either side of a given polar opposition often seem to latch onto a single principle and push it to its extreme, as though the more rigid and uncompromising you are with a given principle, the better. War! Peace! Be tough! Be compassionate! Compromise! Be assertive! Of course, I do find myself generally in the solidly "liberal" camp on most issues, but liberals are not the same as leftists --- we tend to understand the need for nuanced positions, for taking into account a multiplicity of factors. Not that I don't sympathize with the ideals of the left --- I do --- but I also think that the means of achieving these ends has to include an appreciation of both sides of most binary oppositions. I don't think it's at all surprising that some of the most ardent right-wing ideologues are often people who began as ideological leftists --- rather than moderate their certainty they simply reversed their certainty, which in many ways is travelling a shorter mental distance. I think what attracts me so much about architectural thinking is precisely this: architects, because they have to design things which must, by their nature, deal with balancing contrary forces in a way that incorporates and accomodates them all, not just a subset of them. They design and build structures which interact with people, with communities, in many different configurations and contexts.